College Basketball Picks: UTEP vs. Arizona Prediction: November 15th 2012
College Basketball Picks: November 15th 2012
UTEP vs. Arizona
Prediction: Arizona -8.5
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Last season was a rebuilding one in Arizona but the Wildcats were still able to win 23 games and they had a chance to make it back to the NCAA Tournament but lost to Colorado in the Pac 12 Championship and had to settle for an NIT invite. The fact they went as far as they did was a surprise and it was a huge building block for the future and that future starts this year. A year ago, head coach Sean Miller was reduced to playing only eight players after suspensions and injuries ravaged the Wildcats. Now there is plenty of depth and Arizona is loaded with talent that features size down low and a backcourt with proven star ability. Forward Solomon Hill is a first-team All-Pac 12 big man while freshman Grant Jerrett is a star in the making and was selected to the preseason All-Pac 12 second team. Xavier transfer Mark Lyons was able to play right away since he actually graduated so the tools are in place for a big run. The Wildcats opened with Charleston Southern and they didn’t exactly blow the Buccaneers away like many thought would happen. Still, it was a very impressive night on offense as Arizona had 25 assists to just eight turnovers and that efficiency is huge going forward. UTEP comes to town following an impressive 20-point win over a very good Oral Roberts team. The Miners slipped last season as the offense was offensive at times and there is not a lot to think it will not be the same this year. They scored 69 points against the Golden Eagles while committing only seven turnovers but they went just 1-7 from long range and the defense they will be facing tonight is a lot stronger. UTEP put together a strong non-conference schedule that will help once C-USA play starts but it could be a long road prior to that. Even head coach Tim Floyd said the tougher schedule “seemed like a good idea last spring” but he wasn’t as sure before the season began. The Miners need work in a lot of areas and playing against some elite teams won’t necessarily help that early on. We are catching a pretty favorable line here as the Wildcats seem to be undervalued based on their average opening win coupled with the UTEP blowout. Expect the blowout to go the other way tonight. Play (518) Arizona Wildcats. Be sure to purchase Matt Fargo’s college basketball picks season pass this year.